Oasis: 50 facts about Marilyn Monroe
On Sunday, August 5 it will be 50 years since the death of Marilyn Monroe. To mark the anniversary, here are 50 facts you may not have known about the screen icon. See this feature as it was printed here.
Though it's repeatedly claimed that Monroe was a dress size 16 (US size 12), she was actually very petite - just 5ft 51/2in and a UK size 8 (US 12).
According to Christies, at the time of her death Monroe had a personal library of over 400 books. Titles included Ulysses by James Joyce, Das Kapital by Karl Marx, Metaphysics by Aristotle and Pet Turtles by Julien Bronson.
In 1947 she won a contest to be crowned the first Miss California Artichoke Queen.
After signing her first film contract with Twentieth Century Fox in 1946, she reportedly had plastic surgery to remove a cartlidge bump on her nose and had a chin implant. She had earlier undergone cosmetic dentistry to correct a protusion in her front teeth.
Her first lead role was in Don't Bother to Knock (1952) in which she played a psychotic babysitter.
After her marriage to the playright Arthur Miller, a suspected communist sympathiser, the FBI filed a 34-page report on Monroe's own alleged links to the party. Included was a visa application to visit the USSR.
Her beloved pet dog, a Maltese terrier named Maf, was given to her by Frank Sinatra. The name was said to be short for "mafia".
Eve Arnold, the photographer who took some of Monroe's most famous shots, said of her: "At photo sessions, she was in total control. She manipulated everything - me, the camera. She knew a lot about cameras and I had never met anyone who could make them respond the way she did."
To make her skin glow under studio lights, Monroe would slather on layers of Vaseline, hormone cream and Nivea, followed by foundation and powder.
Her favourite poets were Walt Whitman and John Keats and her poetry collection included The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog by Dylan Thomas. Monroe met the Welsh writer in 1951.
Before finally deciding on Marilyn Monroe, studio executives suggested she use the stage name Carole Lind. She wanted to be called Jean Monroe.
At the age of 16 she married her 21-year-old neighbour James E Dougherty. She asked for a divorce four years later.
Monroe was fascinated with Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis, and while filming The Prince and the Showgirl (xxxx) she had daily therapy sessions with Freud's daughter, Anna. Among the possessions found in Monroe's home after she died was a receipt for The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud, volumes one, two and three.
In 1951, she enrolled in evening classes in Art Appreciation and Literature at UCLA.
Monroe was Truman Capote's first choice for Audrey Hepburn's role of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
To avoid the press when checking into hotels and travelling, she used the pseudonym Zelda Zonk.
Filming for her famous "skirt blowing" scene in The Seven Year Itch took 14 takes to get right. It was shot at 1am on Lexington and 52nd St in New York, in front of 100 male photographers and 1,500 spectators. Every time the skirt blew up, the crowd roared.
Her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe Mortenson, worked as negative cutter at the RKO film studios. She never knew her father.
The Rat Pack actor and JFK's brother in law Peter Lawford stated that on the night she died, he called to invite Monroe to dinner, but she declined. He said she sounded heavily drugged and told him, "Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy."
Her famous pout was created with five types of lipstick and gloss: darker reds were used on the outer corners, lighter shades in the middle and a highlighted cupid's bow and bottom lip.
During her three marriages, the actress suffered two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. She was pregnant during the filming of Some Like It Hot.
Monroe's entire wardrobe, including the famous white dress from The Seven Year Itch, was bought in 1971 by the actress Debbie Reynolds, who amassed a huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia. High storage costs forced Reynolds to sell the collection in 1999. The white dress went for $4.6m (Dh16.9m)
When Arthur Miller was called to testify at House Committee on Un-American Activities about his supposed links to communism, film executives urged Monroe to end her marriage. She refused, branding them "born cowards".
Among the personal effects found in the room where she died was a half-finished love letter to her second husband, Joe DiMaggio. The couple had divorced eight years earlier.
Before an operation to remove her appendix, Monroe taped a handwritten letter to her stomach that read: "Cut as little as possible".
She left the bulk of her $1.6 million estate and personal effects to her acting coach Lee Strasberg, instructing that they be distributed among "my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted". Instead, Strasberg stored them in a warehouse then later bequeathed them to his second wife, Anna, who had never met Monroe. She left a quarter of her estate to Dr. Marianne Kris, her psychoanalyst.
For her burial, Monroe was dressed in her favourite outfit, a pale green Pucci dress with matching chiffon scarf. She owned more than 25 pieces by the Italian designer.
Her first taste of fame came in 1945, while working in the Radioplane munitions factory. A US army photographer, commissioned to shoot morale-boosting photo of factory girls for the army magazine Yank, spotted the pretty 19 year old brunette and made her the focus of the feature. He then used her for further modelling jobs.
The factory photo shoot was commissioned an army captain named Ronald Reagan - the future US president.
The screenplay for her last film, The Misfits (1961) was written by Arthur Miller as a Valentine gift. The couple divorced a week after the film opened.
Following her death, Joe DiMaggio had a half-dozen red roses delivered to Monroe's crypt three times a week for the next 20 years.
When she signed up to her first modelling agency, she was told to dye her hair lighter as it would lead to more jobs in Hollywood. She tried 12 different shades of gold before settling on her trademark shade of platinum blonde.
She would sometimes take ice baths, prepared by her masseur into which she would add Chanel No. 5.
Her last photograph, taken on the weekend before her death was with Frank Sinatra and jazz pianist Buddy Greco during a stay at the Cal-Neva lodge, Nevada.
She made 33 films.
According to Monroe's first husband, Jim Dougherty, Monroe would rinse her face 15 times every time she washed it.
The flesh coloured dress she wore for her famous performance at President Kennedy's 45th birthday party at Madison Square Gardens, was embellished with 2,500 rhinestones. It was so tight fitting she had to be sewn into it.
Monroe was an acute stutterer and in the early part of her acting career received dictation lessons to correct it.
Before she died, Monroe was in talks to star in a biography of her screen idol, Jean Harlow.
For her role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe was paid just $18,000. Her co-star Jane Russell was paid $200,000.
Her marriage to Joe DiMaggio lasted just nine months. Monroe filed for divorce on grounds of "mental cruelty".
Her funeral, on August 8 1962, was attended by just 31 close family and friends.
Her crypt is located in the Corridor of Memories at LA's Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. The plot next to it is owned by Hugh Hefner.
In 1956, following her marriage to Miller, Monroe converted to Judaism.
Billy Wilder, the director of Some Like It Hot, was so angry about Monroe's behaviour during filming that she was not invited to the wrap party.
If she were alive today, Monroe would be 86 years old.
During renovations in 1972, the new owners of Marilyn's Brentwood home discovered a sophisticated eavesdropping and phone tapping system that covered every room in the house and which cost $100,000 to remove.
It is claimed that Joe DiMaggio's last words were: "I'll finally get to see Marilyn."
She was plagued by stage fright for her whole career.
On the day of her death, she was visited at home by JFK's brother, Senator Robert Kennedy.
Updated: August 3, 2012 04:00 AM